Conceding that COVID-19’s impact surpasses previous shocks, Boeing has cut just 2% from its 20-year commercial aircraft delivery forecast in its 2020 Commercial Market Outlook.
At first glance, the forecast appears optimistic to us having shifted demand from the first ten years into the second ten. We’ll be looking at this more closely over the coming days. Boeing itself recognises that the 2020 CMO “faces more near-term uncertainty than any forecast in recent memory”.
It expects the retiring of older aircraft in the short-term and a focus on fleet renewal in the medium-term before a return to growth in the long-term. This is justified by a belief that the fundamental market drivers remain intact without any long-lasting impact on air travel habits.
One predicted reaction of airlines to the pandemic is the development of versatile fleets longer-term. It is unclear whether it this, domestic travel leading recovery or a combination of the two that prompts the change in delivery mix by aircraft category. Although the 20-year forecasts for widebody and freight aircraft are down around 10%, the narrowbody forecast has changed little and the regional jet forecast is up 8.5% over the 2019 20-year forecast.
There is some irony in the Regional Jet forecast being the only one to increase just six months after the collapse of a potential venture with Embraer that would have given Boeing access to this market.
Watch this space for further analysis and commentary.